If there is only one thing you take away from reading this blog, take away this: it’s not your fault. Mamma, whatever you are going through, it’s not your fault. If you deal with chronic illness, it’s not your fault. If your child is on the spectrum, it’s not your fault. If your spouse left you on your own to raise your kids, it’s not your fault. If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, it is definitely not your fault.
There are obviously areas that we all want to improve, areas we each need to grow and change and develop. I’m not talking about those things. I am speaking to the terribly awful guilty feeling that you can’t seem to shake. It’s too big. It’s too terrible. Somehow you believe you are the cause.
Stop. Right. Now.
It’s not your fault.
As moms we take on the weight of literally everything. For nine months we carry these babies inside of us, adding actual weigh to our frames. Those who adopt and foster carry other weights, other heaviness. Then we literally carry these children, holding them when they are too tiny to get around any other way. When they get older, we carry them on piggy back rides, we carry them after they’ve scraped their knees, we carry them up to bed. We actually carry them so much that it’s quite natural to carry other things—like guilt and shame—that we should never carry.
For years I’ve been hiding in the shadows of guilty and wearing fault on the inside like a secret undergarment that, if I would take it off, I’d be exposed and naked in shame. My guilt wasn’t related to breast or bottle feeding, bedtime arrangements, or food choices. My burden, the albatross around my neck, was my child’s struggle with reading.
I would tune out the guilt—the weight—as it was so heavy, it would be unbearable. When it would come up in my mind, oh it would tear me apart. While other moms talked about reading levels and writing assignments and achievement tests, all I wanted to do was hide. My child struggles terribly with reading. And we homeschool. How do I discuss this? Is this problem really my fault? Did I cause this? If he sat in a regular classroom from the beginning, would it be different?
The fact is, he is dyslexic. If he had attended regular school for his education, he’d still be dyslexic. Sitting in a classroom would not have rewired his brain in such as way as to make him a “normal” learner. Ever. And, his reading struggles are not my fault. I realize this now, but for years I had listened to the enemy’s voice that somehow convinced me this whole thing was my fault and that I couldn’t talk about it because who would really understand anyway? And so the silence continued. And so the shame grew. And so the darkness was.
The silver lining in my story is that since I’ve come out of the shadows and not been afraid to ask questions, speak up, and be an advocate for my son, we’ve found a wonderful dyslexia tutor who is giving him the skills his brain needs to decode language. Since the tutoring began, I have been able to talk to more people about dyslexia and homeschooling without needing to hide anything. Without needing to apologize, or even tear up. I’m not hiding anymore because I realize that the way he learns is not my fault; it’s just the way he learns. I finally feel like I can actually breathe.
I believe there is an enemy at work against us. His voice is the secret whisper behind all of the guilt, all of the burden, all of the shame. He tries to keep our lives hidden in shadows, tries to keep us from getting the help that we need. He tries to keep us alone. But there is One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Listen to this voice. Don’t be afraid to stand in the light and come out of shadows. Don’t be afraid to let go of guilt and shame. Remember: It is not your fault.
A note about dyslexia: While there are a wide range of benefits and advantages to being dyslexic, the reading and/or writing struggle is very real. For more information about dyslexia, I highly recommend the book: The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock L. Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette F. Eide M.D.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain undeniable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is included in The Declaration of Independence (US 1776.)”
The truth is the world got it wrong. Something that God quickly began to teach me as I attempted to watch the well-known movie The Pursuit of Happiness. As we embark on what is easily the most hostile election year to date, it is evident we need to pursue what Jesus instructed from the first day of his ministry. We need to pursue the Kingdom of God.
As Christians, too often we associate ourselves and our circumstances with the pursuit of things that make us happy or feel good. This takes us away from the purpose of God in our lives. Happiness by definition comes from the root word, hap – which means luck, chance, or fortune. This sets the way to create an idol in our lives, one that causes us to focus on the pleasures of life and the circumstances that surround them. Take note this is something God clearly speaks about in Isaiah 65:8-12. This is even true when it comes to the election and voting for a person who makes you feel good, or even secure and happy, not necessarily what lines up with the will of God.
Does that mean that God’s will is for us to never be happy? By no means. Quite the opposite in fact. God wants us to be happy. Jesus preaches it very much so in Matt 5:3-12 commonly known as the beatitudes. Take note, however, this sermon is preached as characteristics for those who have entered into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). ‘Blessed’ in Greek means happy and in Aramaic means prosperous. What does that mean for us? It means that in order to be really happy (blessed), we need to pursue God and His Kingdom. Deeper than that, seeking God, staying in His will, produces joy, and that is something that is not dependent on circumstances, it is indwelling and solely dependent upon God.